Rezonings in three boroughs begin public review

Planning proposed contextual rezonings in Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. On May 24, 2010, the City Planning Commission certified the Department of City Planning’s contextual rezoning proposals for sections of Queens, the Bronx, and Manhattan. The Queens rezoning would impact a 418-block portion of northeast Queens and would be the City’s largest rezoning. The Bronx plan would rezone 75 blocks along the central Bronx’s Third Avenue and Tremont Avenue corridors. The Manhattan proposal, referred to as the Third Avenue Corridor Rezoning, would impact an eight-block section of the East Village bounded by East 13th and East 9th Streets and Third and Fourth Avenues.

The Auburndale, Oakland Gardens, and Hollis Hills neighborhoods of northeast Queens have recently experienced development out of scale with the area’s residential character. The rezoning would replace the area’s zoning, which has remained unchanged since 1961, with contextual zoning districts, including R1-2A, R2A, and R3X districts. The plan would also modify commercial overlays to more closely match current use patterns and to Borreduce off-street parking requirements. Planning would broadly apply R2A zoning to 295 blocks (most of Hollis Hills and portions of Auburndale and Oakland Gardens) in order to reinforce the area’s existing detached single-family and two-family housing. Queens Community Boards 7, 8, and 11 must vote on the plan by August 2, 2010.

The Bronx proposal impacts the following: Third Avenue’s primarily industrial north/south corridor, Tremont Avenue’s residentially zoned east/west corridor that also permits ground floor commercial uses, and an area between Third and Park Avenues. The last area is referred to as a Neighborhood Preservation Area and contains pockets of building types ranging from detached homes to six-story apartment buildings.

The rezoning would permit as-of- right residential uses along Third Avenue and apply special mixed-use districts along a portion of Third Avenue and along the northern and southern edges of the study area. The Tremont Avenue corridor would be rezoned to encourage a wider range of office and retail uses. Planning would apply contextual districts to the Neighborhood Preservation Area to ensure that development would be consistent with its range of building types. The City’s Inclusionary Housing Program would apply to the entire area, excluding the Neighborhood Preservation Area. Bronx Community Board 6 is scheduled to vote on the proposal on June 9, 2010.

The East Village proposal would impact an eight-block section characterized by low- and mid-rise buildings, with the notable exception being New York University’s 23-story dormitory on East 12th Street. The proposal would replace the area’s existing C6-1 zoning with a C6-2A district. This would create a more defined building envelope for future development, including continuous street walls and a maximum building height of 120 feet. The Inclusionary Housing Program would also apply to the rezoned area. According to Planning, the proposal would promote the Bloomberg Administration’s sustainable planning goals by preserving the neighborhood’s special character while providing opportunities to create affordable housing along Third and Fourth Avenues. The Commission forwarded the certified plan to Manhattan Community Board 3 for review.

CPC: Certification of Auburndale/Oakland Gardens/Hollis Hills Rezoning (C 100409 ZMQ – rezoning); Certification of Third Avenue/Tremont Avenue Rezoning (N 100407 ZMX – rezoning) (N 100408 ZRX – text amend.); Certification of Third Avenue Corridor Rezoning (N 100420 ZMM – rezoning) (N 1000419 ZRM – text amend.) (May 24, 2010).

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